What’s up with… NTT Docomo, Orange, IOEMA

The set-up for NTT Docomo's self-powered hydropower cellular base station experiment.

The set-up for NTT Docomo's self-powered hydropower cellular base station experiment.

  • NTT Docomo tests hydro-powered base station
  • Orange teams up with AWS in North and West Africa 
  • IOEMA Fiber announces new subsea cable

In today’s industry news roundup: Japan’s NTT Docomo is putting a hydro-powered base station through its paces with a view to a potential commercial deployment next year; Orange has hooked up with AWS to bring edge cloud services to Morocco and Senegal; Northern Europe is getting a new subsea cable that will link five countries; and much more!

As part of its efforts to adopt renewable energy sources and achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2030 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its entire supply chain by 2040, Japan’s NTT Docomo is testing a self-powered hydropower mobile network base station. The test involves the mobile operator’s hydroelectric power-generation system and a jet turbine developed at the University of Kumamoto and “aims to prove the feasibility of a self-powered base station using water flowing in an irrigation canal… as a sustainable, low-cost solution for mobile communication networks in rural areas.” Depending on the outcome of the current experiment, NTT Docomo “hopes to introduce a hydropower system for the sustainable operation of self-powered base stations in mobile communications networks by March 2025.” Docomo explained: “The jet turbine incorporates a nozzle that emits a stream of water, or ‘jet,’ to drive the turbine’s rotation in the opposite direction and thereby generate electricity. While conventional hydroelectric systems use a separate nozzle and turbine, this device combines both components in a design so simple it can be manufactured with a 3D printer.” The system also collects data on electric current, voltage and power, as well as water flow and pressure, for the operator’s energy management system (EMS) platform to monitor and control power driving the base station. “The platform also visualises the amount of CO2 reduction realised with this sustainable hydropower system,” it added. The operator also pointed out that while its current green base stations mainly use solar power, “this initiative aims to use renewable energy such as hydropower in places where solar panels are not practical.” For more on the test and Docomo’s EMS platform, see this announcement.

Sticking with the green network theme… Ericsson has teamed up with Spanish telecom R&D outfit Telcaria to explore ways to improve the energy efficiency of 5G private networks. The partners are “adopting a public-private integrated network (PNI-NPN) approach, for improving the observability and predictability of network utilisation, network performance and network energy consumption,” noted Ericsson in this announcement. News of the partnership comes just as TelecomTV’s latest DSP Leaders Report reveals that industry leaders don’t believe the vendor community is doing as much as it could to help the development of more energy-efficient networks – see Vendors not living up to their green promises – report.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Orange are collaborating to bring AWS Wavelength, the edge cloud solution integrated into service provider networks, to Morocco and Senegal later this year. “In addition to the first AWS Wavelength Zones in Africa, this announcement will mark the first Wavelength Zones in countries without an existing AWS Region or AWS Local Zone,” noted AWS in this blog post. “This will enable AWS customers to support use cases across regulated industries that require data to remain local, such as telecom, finance, public sector, and healthcare, as well as industries that depend on low-latency applications like gaming.” It added: “To meet the end-customer needs for low latency and data residency in the growing geographies of Morocco and Senegal, we looked for a CSP partner with global reach, breadth, a depth of connectivity offerings and an ambition to scale their solution offerings to include a unique cloud value proposition. With 26 operating countries and over 298 million worldwide customers, including 18 in Africa and the Middle East, we knew that Orange’s strong presence and expertise in these markets would uniquely benefit our AWS customers across regulated industries and industries that require low-latency for applications.”

Still with Orange… The telco has completed the merger of mobile operation Orange Romania with fixed line service provider Orange Romania Communications to form a single, combined mobile and fixed network operator in which the state will hold a 20% stake. The move was initially announced in January this year. “The merger between Orange Romania S.A. and Orange Romania Communications S.A. is a major step for Orange and marks the fruition of the process with the government of Romania. This merger enables Orange Romania to fully implement its strategy to deliver best-in-class offers on mobile and fibre. I warmly thank the teams that have been working on this transaction and wish the new integrated teams all the best,” stated Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, executive vice president and CEO of Orange Europe. The news comes just days after rival Digi Communications announced plans to strengthen its position in its home market of Romania with a bid to acquire Telekom Romania Mobile from Greek operator OTE (which is majority owned by Deutsche Telekom). 

Subsea network sector newcomer IOEMA Fibre has announced a new 1,400km submarine cable deployment that will link the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway. “The IOEMA system will be the first submarine fibre optic cable landing on the North Sea shores of Germany in over 25 years,” noted the company in its press release. “After [the] decommissioning of TAT-14, SEA-ME-WE 3 and others, the IOEMA submarine fibre optic cable system will be the only cable system connecting Germany to the submarine cable networks in the North Sea and beyond,” it added. Among the newcomer’s partners in its efforts to establish a new submarine route in Northern Europe are Colt, Arelion and Eurofiber. 

Iliad’s group revenues increased by 11.2% year on year to €2.43bn in the first quarter, with growth in each of the operator’s three main markets. “France recorded its strongest quarterly revenue growth for nearly 10 years (with revenues up 10%), revenues for Poland advanced 13.8% (following a 10.2% increase in Q4 2023) with higher like-for-like growth (up 5% versus 3% in Q4 2023) and a favourable currency effect, and Italy’s revenue growth remained high, at 12.8%,” noted the operator in this press release

Malaysia is the latest country in Asia Pacific to pledge significant investments in its domestic chip sector. Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim stated earlier this week that $5.3bn of financial support will be pledged by the government to help attract investments of at least 500bn ringgit ($107bn) in the country’s semiconductor industry, reports Reuters. “We have a strong capacity to diversify and move higher in the value chain... to move towards even more high-end manufacturing, semiconductor design and advanced packaging,” Anwar said. In recent days, China has established a new 344bn yuan ($47.48bn) state-backed investment fund for its own chip sector and South Korea unveiled a support package for its semiconductor industry worth $19bn

Meanwhile, in Singapore, the island state’s deputy prime minister and chairman of the National Research Foundation, Heng Swee Keat, has announced an additional 295m Singapore dollars (US$220m) investment in quantum computing education and R&D as part of the island state’s National Quantum Strategy. The new investment will add to the $400m (US$300m) that has already been invested in the past two decades, reports The Straits Times. Late last year, Singtel unveiled ambitions to become the first telco to develop a national quantum-safe network in its home market: It teamed up with quantum cybersecurity company ID Quantique (IDQ) to develop the so-called National Quantum-Safe Network Plus (NQSN+) for enterprises. 

- The staff, TelecomTV

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